By now we all know about Bryson DeChambeau’s dominating performance at Winged Foot, which was sparked by a number of factors including massive distance off the tee and the uncanny ability to spin the ball out of the brutal US Open rough. What some golf fans might not be aware of, however, is the key role his Bridgestone Tour B X golf ball played in the equation.
To understand just how significant the sphere really was you have to grasp REACTIV, Bridgestone’s new groundbreaking cover technology.
The first thing to understand about REACTIV is that it came about in an attempt to add both distance and short game spin to the Tour B line at the same time, two performance characteristics that are typically at odds with one another. Normally to add speed a golf ball cover is made harder (think old Top-Rock distance balls) and to add short game spin a cover is made softer (think old Balata balls). The two simply don’t go well together for obvious reasons.
To remedy the situation- and create a breakthrough in golf ball technology - Bridgestone’s impressive collection of material engineers (keep in mind Bridgestone is the largest rubber producer on the planet) developed REACTIV, a proprietary polymer they call an “impact modifier,” to incorporate into the soft but responsive urethane cover that differentiates all four Tour B models. This “modifier” actually changes the urethane, which is inherently quite slow and soft, and makes it behave differently depending on the speed of impact. d
Elliot Mellow, Bridgestone’s marketing manager, golf balls, comments, “on more violent strikes, like those delivered by Tiger or Bryson with their respective drivers, the urethane performs like a firmer material, resulting in more initial ball speed and distance. But on shorter swings, like those in the scoring zone and around the greens, the cover performs like a softer material, allowing the grooves to do their work and create significantly more spin and control.”
According to Mellow, the impressive performance gains due to REACTIV cover technology include a 1.5 mph increase in ball speed with the driver regardless of swing speed, as well as an increase of approximately 300 rpm on 15-yard wedge shots. And these gains are not only provided by the firmer Tour B X (played by Bryson) or the slightly softer Tour B XS (played by Tiger) but also by the Tour B RX and Tour B RXS, both of which are aimed at players with driver swing speeds under the 105-mph mark. Of course, if you do have lots of speed some of the numbers will go up exponentially. In Bryson’s case, the first time he hit the lower spinning Tour B X model with a wedge he immediately picked up over 700 rpm of spin, which certainly doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to stick a US Open green.